(Forward Colin Greening, a native of St. John's, Newfoundland, who saw 24 games worth of duty with the Ottawa Senators this season, is back in the American Hockey League with the Binghamton Senators for the Calder Cup playoffs. He'll provide some insights in a series of blog posts for OttawaSenators.com).
Getting that win in Game 1 last night was really important, especially coming into a tough place like Portland. The last time we came here, they came out really, really strong like they did last night. I guess after the first period, guys were thinking ‘we’re in for a tough game here.’ So everyone stepped up a little bit and we were able to play better in the second and third and get that win. To do that, especially in a tough barn like this one, was good.
It was actually pretty nice for a change to not have to win one in overtime, which we did four times in the first round against Manchester. A number of people were texting me the night before and saying ‘good luck tomorrow, it might be nice for our nerves to not go into overtime. Maybe you can win one outright.’ It was just a nice change of pace for us.
Our first-round experience against Manchester really helped out last night, after we fell behind early When we were in the first intermission, everyone was like ‘we’ve been here before, it’s not a big deal, we know how to battle back.’ Everyone was really positive in the dressing room and that really helped us.
It was great to see Corey Locke back in our lineup last night after he missed the whole first round because of injury. Corey is one of the premier players in the league and he knows where to find you on the ice. It was great to have him back. He’s a good teammate and a good friend and especially to be on the line with him was great.
People might wonder how we keep winning in spite of all the injuries we’ve faced. First of all, having good replacements is the most important thing. We have guys that have been practising with us and learning our system so when they do step in, it’s not a big adjustment for them. And other guys have really stepped up. If you look at our defensive end, we’ve had some guys out and you look at guys like (Geoff) Kinrade and (Andre) Benoit and (Patrick) Wiercioch who’ve all had to step up their games and step up their playing minutes. That really speaks volumes aboutt them.
Robin Lehner been great for us in net lately and he’s really stepped up his game. I know it’s been an up and down year for him, because he’s been in up in Ottawa and then sent back to Binghamton. That can be really trying on a player, especially for a guy his age. But he’s played really, really well for us the last four games. Going into the playoffs, we knew that (Barry) Brusty was going to be our No. 1 but now that Lehner’s been given the shot, he’s made the most of it, which says a lot about him.
We’ve already assured ourselves of a split in Portland, but that’s not enough for us. We’re going for a win tonight and if we’re able to get the win, great. If not, that’s not what we want. We want to come out of here with two wins. Any time you go into a game, you want to be able to win, no matter what the outcome was last night